Engineering Inc. - July/August 2015 - (Page 34)

Girl By gerry Donohue Children's books promote "yes I Can" to engineering for gradeschool girls Empower W hen reflecting on her 30-plus-year career as a civil engineer, Cheryl Cunningham can't help but get enthusiastic. "It's the coolest job in the world," says Cunningham, president of PCS Engineers, a 25-person civil engineering firm in Avon, Ind. "It's exciting. You get to use your imagination. You solve problems." Now Cunningham is trying to share her passion with a demographic group that hasn't historically been attracted to engineering-grade-school girls. She and her sister, Judy Cunningham, are creating a series of I Can Be an Engineer children's books to encourage young girls to consider the possibilities of an engineering career. They have already published two books, Yes I Can! I'm Clover Anne! and I Can Find a Way! I'm Lucy Kay! 34 ENgINEERINg INC. July / August 2015 "It's frustrating to me that we have the same percentage of women in engineering today that we had when I graduated more than 30 years ago," Cunningham says. "Other professions, such as architecture, have figured out how to entice more women, but that hasn't happened in our industry." Studies put the percentage of women in engineering between 10 and 20 percent. According to a 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) report, women comprise about 12 percent of the 1.5 million U.S. engineers. In some practice areas, the percentage of women is remarkably low-among mechanical engineers, for example, women comprise less than 1 percent. Cunningham believes the seeds of that disparity germinate in grade school. "I think the biggest reason that girls don't get into engineering is they don't even know what it is," she says. "The second biggest reason is Source: National they just don't see them- Science Foundation selves doing it, because it's such a male-dominated profession." Cunningham recalls her own introduction to the field. Her high school guidance counselor noted her high math aptitude and told her that if she were male, 12% of U.S. engineers are women.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - July/August 2015

Engineering Inc. - July/August 2015
From ACEC to You
Market Watch
Legislative Action
Secrets of the Centenarians
State of the Industry
Reshaping Cities
2015 Professional Liability Insurance Survey of Member Firms
Girl Empower
2015 Fall Conference
Guest Column
Guest Column
Guest Column
Business Insights
Members in the News
Mergers and Acquisitions

Engineering Inc. - July/August 2015